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USA South postpones fall sports

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

In recent weeks and months, numerous conferences across the country have made the decision not to play college sports during the fall because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the USA South became the latest conference to follow that trend when it decided to postpone all of the fall sports seasons, including football.

The plan is play all of those sports, football, soccer, volleyball and cross country, during the spring instead.

Jennifer Claybrook, LaGrange College’s athletic director, addressed the issue in a statement that was posted on the school’s website on Tuesday.

“Athletic competition is important to LaGrange student-athletes and to those who love and support them,” Claybrook said. “We also firmly believe it plays a vital role in the overall student experience here on the Hill. We are, however, living in extraordinary times, and the NCAA, our conference and our college have been struggling with how to protect our student-athletes from the coronavirus while sponsoring fall athletics. Today, our USA South Athletic Conference made the decision to postponed – not cancel – the 2020 fall athletic season to spring.

Claybrook added that “while the decision was difficult, the reasoning is not. Our priority must be the safety and well-being of students and the college community. We remain committed to our safe return to campus and to providing meaningful athletic experiences this fall, while beginning work with our conference partners to sponsor competition for fall sports in the spring of 2021.”

If the fall sports are played during the spring, that will make for a busy few months.

Football, soccer, volleyball and cross country will join baseball, golf, tennis, lacrosse and beach volleyball as spring sports.

The 2020 spring sports season was canceled.

A decision hasn’t yet been made about winter sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.

“I am proud of our community and our commitment to excellence both on and off the field,” Claybrook said in her statement. “During the last few weeks, I have received a number of messages from those who support a safe return to sports. That is what we all desire. I look forward to working with you to make it a reality.”

While there won’t be competition during the fall, the teams will be able to practice.

“When student-athletes return in late August, we will communicate our team plans, highlighting protocols to protect student-athletes and coach safety and establish a level of comfort for all students,” Claybrook said.

OF NOTE: To read the full statement by Jennifer Claybrook, go to lagrangepanthers.com, and for more information to go usasouth.net